Couple uses food to discover culture

A young couple with a passion for bicycle touring have turned their lifestyle into a way to make a living.

Ian Gove and Courtenay Crucil were enjoying a breakfast at Pacific Grill in Greenwood on day 10 of their bike tour to film a documentary portrait of Canadian culture through the lens of local food.

Bike touring with a mission—find the next meal. That’s the task that Vancouverites Ian Gove and Courtenay Crucil have set for themselves as they pedal across Canada shooting footage for a documentary film called Going Slow: Slow Food and Slow Travel.

The young couple started in late June at the Pacific Ocean in Ucluelet and plan to travel over the next 80 days to Cape Spear in Newfoundland and Labrador , the most easterly point in Canada.

What makes their trip different is their plan to use local food as a way to discover regional culture.

Last year they filmed a cycling trip to Tijuana from Vancouver. But they felt that something they had experienced on the trip was missing from the movie. “We were missing a lot of character of the places that we went to,” explained Ian. “Our idea is to try to put the character of the places we visit into the film.”

“Food is a huge part of cycling, because we have to eat probably two or three times as much food as we would normally eat.”

So they decided to create a portrait of Canada regionally – by eating foods only that are grown in the province they are currently in.

“It is a fun way of showing the province as you travel through it,” he explained. “We get to meet people and in talking to them and asking them where their food comes from regionally we discover the local chicken, potatoes and the local home made bread.

“We are really trying to be mindful consumers across the country,” added Courtenay. “There is a connection between culture and food. We always serve food when we celebrate or where we come together as a community. We thought this would be a good way to also show the culture of Canada, because we are such a cultural mosaic here.

“We are such a huge country we wanted to try to use food as a another way to have a conversation about culture and Canada.”

On the morning of July 5 they were on their tenth day on the road and enjoying breakfast at the Pacific Grill in Greenwood.

On day three of this trip they put the finishing touches on their latest film – Happenstance: Life on a Bike, which will be showcased on Telus Optik TV and VOD in Fall 2014.

“We both love to cycle and love to make films and share stories,” Courtenay explained. “All of our passions kind of come together. By making these documentaries we are having all these wonderful opportunities to engage with people.”

They travel with no real agenda – simply letting their experience become their adventure. “People have been great in pointing us in the right direction,” she said with a laugh.

“There is a real diversity to Canada,” said Ian. “I wanted to do a portrait of Canada. We are a major food-producing nation—let’s see what it looks like on the ground.”

“Farmers used to have a really prestigious role in our communities because they were doing an important thing,” said Courtenay. “They supply a key to all life—we all need food to live. Then we started to rely on imported food and there has also been this disconnection between communities and our farmers.”

“Going across Canada and showing the landscape of Canada—we want to do that in a way that adds faces to Canada and the rural people who are doing some wonderful things.”

It might be summed up by the old adage: At least once in their life a person will need a doctor, a minister and a lawyer; but a person needs a farmer three times a day, everyday.

You can follow Ian and Courtenay on their trip across the country at


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